I have been leafing through some old documents this week, and found my 2000 diary. I found this list I made in the 28 June 2000 entry – it could have been later. I don’t remember where I got the notes from, but I remember faintly that I was given a personal development plan (PDP) brochure to read, either by my first boss Mrs Aba Turkson or the then Supply Chain Director of Unilever Ghana, Michael Charamba. It could have been during my induction or the first few months, having started my working career after National Service, with Unilever, on 15 June 2000.
I hope some young readers of mine will find them useful. I can’t say I have lived all the nuggets but surely they have been helpful, even if I imbibed and used them unconsciously. Most of them still make sense for me, as I travel on my working journey.
1. Take responsibility for your own career. The right mix of experience, skills and competencies is a firm career foundation.
2. The best way to develop your career is o deliver results – consistently. Career planning is important, but don’t let your aspirations for next job distract you from current experience.
3. Be self-analytical and honest with yourself about strengths and weaknesses. Make plans to close skill and experience gaps. Make clear, well-considered and timely choices about career direction.
4. Use tools such as skills and competencies models. Make PDP count.
5. Build your networks, listen to advice.
6. Think about organisational trends and their impact on career development.
7. Frequent job hopping is not best for career development. Fewer, well-chosen steps, are likely to be more effective in the long term.
8. Think ‘What do I learn, and what will I actually earn?’ rather than ‘What pay position is it?’
9. Overall, be driven by both ambition and aspiration, and by a sound grasp of reality.
10. Plan a career within a life, and not a life within a career.